May 7, 2012 at 7:00 AM (Uncategorized) (, )

This is what I would have written for BADD, except of course I was late.

There are two types of disbelief about mental health issues. I hate ’em both, particularly as depression, anxiety and/or bipolar disorder have been part of both sides of the family tree.

The first type, has some validity somewhere…just not with my genetic legacy.

“Everybody thinks everything can be fixed with a pill today.”

I agree, you shouldn’t throw pills at every issue, even every mental health issue. Big Pharma has made a business of making everyone and their brother think a pill will handle everything And people should have the right to consider and follow alternative methods for dealing with those issues, if it isn’t serious enough to cause immminent harm.


Regarding depression and anxiety, I am on a single med that you could not pay me to go off of unless a shrink advised me to do so. Off it I am prone to irrational fears, and anxiety about daily living far off the scale in relation to the stresses that are actually occurring.

I was also diagnosed with Adult ADD in 2009 where blood pressure issues make using meds to deal with it impractical, so I completely get that someone could make a decision about mental health that meant they would not take a medicine discussed with their mental health care person (the key here is honesty…I’m not for saying you’ll take something and then dissapearing it instead of taking it…)

The second kind of disbelief, ironically, comes from the same family members that have seen depression, when untreated, have a devastating effect on their family…

I’ve been told that just because there’s some “made up” label for sudden spacing on where in the world you left stuff, or put it (ADD), that since you had the symptoms long before the condition was named, that there is, in fact, no such condition, and it’s just a plot by shrinks to make $$$.

When I was four, five and six years old, I can’t count the number of times my mom gave me some important permission slip or something, told me not to lose it before I got on the school bus in ten minutes, I *resolved* not to lose it…

And then just completely lost track of it immediately thereafter.
That feature never went away and was joined by chronic disorganization, and five or six other symptoms that I checked “Always” on on the adult add assessment sheet.

“Doesn’t *everybody* do this?” I said resignedly…My health care provider shook her head.

“When I was a kid, we didn’t have pills for any of this stuff, people just lived with it.”

Or didn’t, but of course, no one would have talked about that either, had it happened.

We have medicines today, for conditions that have always existed, both mental and physical, If medicines get made, and conditions get names, there has to be some good that comes out of that.

And I’m tired. Damn tired of people who’ve not dealt with these issues themselves deciding they know the reality of them, or of people that have seen their impact taking their own heads and stuffing them beneath the sand.

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Music Theory

June 13, 2011 at 12:05 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

As I’ve said before, I have this weird PTSD thing about vocal pop songs written before 1993. I used to sing a great deal and sing well, and now I’m limited to those songs I’ve not heard before.

Not just one or two.  All of them.  When I hear them, or worse yet try to sing them, a sudden crying jag universally ensues.  I’ve tried repeated exposure to see if that limits it.  No,  in fact it makes it worse.

For the big band stuff, even the non vocal stuff gets me.  For that era, I think it’s because I really miss my grandparents.

Thankfully, classical or Jazz instrumentals do *not* provoke that response.  I have no idea why.  Thank God I’ve still got my Beethoven, Chopin, Holst,Debussy, Ravel, and even some Gershwin.

Then we get to the fifties and early sixties. I think about my parents.  They both had amazing potential, and my mom did some incredible amazing stuff.  But one suffered death-by-the bottle and the other is having serious difficulty right now.

I hear the fifties stuff, and get sad that neither got to do their best things and hang around for a long time.

Late sixties and seventies is more ‘conventional’ grief, I guess, wishing I was younger.  I also miss my cousin, one of my best friends throughout that decade, who passed away in 1998 after a long stretch of suffering.

And the eighties and nineties well, no one who has read much of my blogging over the last six years (Six years?  Jesus!) needs to guess why music from that decade or so is problematic.

My therapists and shrinks have puzzled over this.  They’ve seen a few songs create such a response in patients but never *every* one.

I’ve got a theory:

First, I’ve incidentally seen the latest research on ‘perfect pitch’ and it finds that it isn’t so much a gift, as the product of an astonishingly good memory.

And secondly as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, I  believe that myself and two other people I’ve met who have  cerebral palsy + high IQ’s + college degrees.  had to train ourselves ( in the era before laptops,  wordboards and and classroom aides) to remember a great deal of what teachers, instructors and professors said in class, since there was no way in hell we could write it down fast enough.  I’d bet money that if people studied those with CP who don’t have cognitive impairment, they’d see a pattern of excellent memory.


Ok those two things.  Then add to that the fact that my portion of bipolar, depression, anxiety has moved my emotions much closer to the surface than they were when I was a teen or early twentysomething.  And even at that time my emotions were pretty out there,  laugh.  I am more volatile than before,  more prone to irritability, anger, frustration,  anxiety, overexcitement than before.   I’m self aware about it,  and I do take one medication,  try,  and mostly manage to keep my emotions on a leash in professional settings and comfortable family or friend situations.

So if you add those three things together, maybe that’s it. When vocal music as a whole can push you into some vivid memory that you’d rather not relive, you might get emotional about it.  I have to reiterate:  I don’t force myself into that state on purpose…it occurs whether I’m ready for it or not.

And I’ve been puzzling about this…why do I keep my CD’s at least those prior to 1993?  I can’t sing them or listen to them (except for the instrumentals), so why do I keep them?  I don’t know.  I just can’t bring myself to get rid of them.

And now, since I’ve recently altered my life fairly drastically, even some of the songs since’ 93 put me in that same spot…because I do miss certain aspects of my life in the West (but I know that here is best right now.)

I have a question for the Universe:  “Just how many of my few remaining gifts do you plan on taking away soon, so I can get ready.”   Pisses me off.

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Used to be…

May 31, 2008 at 10:48 AM (Uncategorized) (, )

I don’t know whether I should blog on this, but I will anyway.

I need to put it out there in case things come out difficult for me.

My medicine for depression/anxiety has gradually become less efficacious;  I’m on a new medication that will not tell it’s efficacy for another month.

It is frightening when your emotions end up running you.

It’s as if your former self is watching and observing.

As you withdraw from what you fear.

As you, who used to be social, withdraw from anyone you do not already know, because you literally fear to speak to them.

You cry often, over things that make no sense to others.

When you are not terrified, you are angry, taking it out with a potty mouth and broken inanimate objects,

But you have enough sense left to seek medical help and get the medicine altered.

For the job I do, my emotions *must* be in my control for eight hours on the phone.  I cannot have a thin skin, I cannot raise my voice, I cannot have a schoolmarmish, lecturing, brusque, weary or exasperated tone, *especially* if customers seem to me to *be* wearying or exasperating.

Those are metrics measured for my performance, not just common sense.

And *on my good days* I find that extraordinarily difficult,

Being nice to people and listening to their concerns is not in fact, *intrinsic* to my nature.  I’d rather just explain the problem and fix it without making nice.  I do it though, because I am capable of learning and it became a learned behaviour for me.

I submit that since it’s a learned skill and not a natural gift for pleasantry over the phone (which the roomie has in *spades*) it makes it more difficult, even on good days.

Part of my job is to *act as if* I’m cheerful and ready to fight whatever battles the customer wants me to fight for them within company policy.

Right now, I do not run my emotions…*they run me*  and that makes me bad phone material.

People who don’t believe there is any such thing as mental ilness believe that every emotional state or action is a conscious choice.

I’m sorry to disagree. A chemical imbalance can be observed, but has to be acted upon medically.  If there are situational *aspects* to the depression, therapy helps with that sometimes, depending on the patient, and the therapist.

My emotions take me to completely different places when my meds aren’t working, so that I don’t much recognize myself.

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Tortured Argument

November 11, 2007 at 10:17 AM (Abuse, Institutionalization, Torture, Waterboarding) (, , , , , , , , )

Here’s something that’s been waiting around in my brain for a couple of weeks and I finally have it clear enough to write:

First, let me say to potential critics: I am completely aware that the discussion of torture that has played out over the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is meant to be discussed as military opponents employing specific techniques against enemy captives.

But when President Bush or Vice President Cheney (See? I can use the titles to respect the office, if not the holders of same.) says “We do not torture.”


First, if they spoke to *any* person with mental ilness that has spent any time in an institutional setting, chances are, they or a fellow patient have suffered things at the hands of staff that a POW would agree is torture.

Also anyone with physical impairment who has spent time in an institutional setting as a child or adult, or in any nursing home could very possibly have the same story, if not about themselves, then about someone they know. If they, and a POW were in the same room, would the POW consider it torture? Yep.

So, lets put that to rest right away. The US does still torture its’ most vulnerable populations from time to time right here on our soil in individual cases or as a practice in some institutional settinngs.

And now, for the strictly military side.

I am laying aside *any and all* moral outrage arguments

Not because I don’t share them, but because the administration ain’t havin any of that.

I am laying aside all Constitutional arguments.

Not because I don’t share them, because the adminstration ain’t havin any of that either.

I vote for an argument they are going to have a ***** of a time countering.

Straightforward support of the troops, and grim pragmatism:

If we do this to 10 detainees, those who permit it, order it and execute it are saying by their actions that they believe that it is an acceptable risk that 100 of our own troops be tortured in the same ways or worse. Because, *that* is the response that would come.
Remember, as far as we know, we have beheaded no-one.

But Daniel Pearl, an able bodied civilian journalist was beheaded, *simply because we responded to 9/11 *at all.* Before Iraq was up and running.

We cannot waterboard if our policy is to protect our own troops.

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